In the previous chapters we have discussed about the various policies and about how our leaders have tried to bring the Indian economy to a good shape after independence. Providing basic needs to everyone and the upliftment of the poor has been one of the major aims of independent India and over the years the 5 year plans started giving more and more importance to the reduction of poverty and emphasis has been laid on trying to fulfill the basic needs of the poorest of the poor (Antyodaya). While addressing the Constituent Assembly in 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru had pointed out that the attainment of freedom was just a small step towards eradicating poverty and ensuring a basic minimum standard of living for everyone.
Today, the poverty in India is not just a challenge for us but for the whole world because more than 20 percent of the poor people of the world live in India. There are many faces of poverty and its definition keeps changing from place to place from time to time. In order to eradicate poverty, it has to be defined, measured and studied. It has to be looked from a variety of angles and indicators like levels of income, consumption, social indicators, indicators of vulnerability and socio political access.